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All Inclusive Resorts: Why, What, Where, and Which to Choose?

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What's the Appeal?
Beaches Turks and Caicos. Photo courtesy of Beaches.
Photo courtesy of Beaches Resorts.
All inclusive resorts are a top choice for family getaways in the Caribbean and Mexico, and here's why:

Beautiful beaches. Ah, those photogenic beaches! (Do check, though, whether a beach is swimmable: not all are. Also, sometimes beaches change dramatically due to hurricanes or erosion, so always read recent visitor comments for individual resorts.)

Beautiful pools: most resorts offer several free-form pools. Often at least one pool has water park features, and some properties have an on-site water park.

Activities, landsports, watersports: in addition to sports, resorts also offer fun such as pool games, or perhaps a family scavenger hunt. Night-time entertainment is expected, too.

Kids programs: most all inclusives offer at least a kids' club for ages four to twelve, and some go above and beyond with terrific programs for several different age groups, and perhaps infant care and teen programs as well.

Meals and drinks: it's easy to feed the family at lavish buffets; meanwhile cravings for gourmet meals can be met at specialty restaurants. Room service, offered at some properties, can be a nice convenience for families.

Safety: families feel safe in their enclosed mini-worlds even in countries where crime rates might otherwise give pause; also, parents feel comfortable letting older kids run around on their own on the property with their pals.

Opportunity to try new sports: snorkeling, sailing, tennis, maybe even trapeze can be tried. Kids can sample an activity, try it again later -- all with no pressure about cost. Some resorts even include scuba for ages 12 and up.

Grown-up pampering: a spa is de rigeur, as is least one fine-dining restaurant are de rigeur. And it goes without saying that golf is available. (Spa always costs extra, as does golf in most cases.)

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